Nine slices $15m more from Fairfax cuts
Nine has found an extra $15 million in cost savings as Fairfax Media ceased to exist yesterday following the television network’s takeover of the 177-year-old publisher, while the chief executive of the combined entity emphasised that he valued journalism as well as entertainment.
The company has already said it will axe 144 roles, affecting 92 people, ahead of the $4 billion merged company’s first day of trading on Monday.
Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks, who will run the new company, told all employees that it would be Australia’s largest locally owned media company.
“The Nine we come in to on Monday is the home of great Australian storytelling, which engages millions of people every week, and a business that collectively spends more than $850m a year investing in Australian content,” Mr Marks said in a staff note.
“This is something for each of us to be proud of. And again not because we are the same but because we can be different.”
Mr Marks pointed out that Nine would value its entertainment heritage but also Fairfax’s journalistic heritage. “Great content means any number of things at Nine: it can be a TV show like The Block, which draws millions of viewers every night and captures water-cooler discussion, or it can be groundbreaking journalism such as Adele Ferguson’s reporting of banking malpractice that drives community discussion on both a national and local level and forces the sector to reform.
“It can be great entertainment content like Young Sheldon or Billions, which is delivered to the device of the audience’s choosing on platforms like Channel 9, 9 Now and Stan, or can be a radio program such as Neil Mitchell’s on 3AW, which sets the agenda and drives debate across an entire city like Melbourne.”
The company said it had already realised $35m of synergy costs, and would make $30m more, predominantly from duplicate corporate costs, digital publishing and sales.
On Monday the company revealed it would have four broad groups, Nine’s traditional television business, digital TV streaming service Stan, the Fairfax metropolitan mastheads within a publishing division and local and regional newspapers Australian Community Media and Printing.
Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood left the company yesterday, as did a group of other executives including chief financial officer David Housego, group director of strategy and corporate development Dhruv Gupta, human resources lead Michelle Williams, general counsel Gail Hambly and director of communi- cations Brad Hatch. Fairfax’s Victorian publisher, Mark Hawthorne, also left yesterday.
Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon and directors Patrick Allaway and Mickie Rosen joined the Nine board, while Nine non-executive directors David Gyngell and Janette Kendall departed.
Nine is also now the majority shareholder in digital property listing business Domain and will own 54.5 per cent of ASX-listed radio group Macquarie Media.